Jesus Teaches Us to Pray
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
DO YOU talk to Jehovah God? He wants you to talk to him. When you talk to God, this is called prayer.
Jesus often spoke to his Father in heaven. Sometimes he wanted to be alone when he talked to God. One time, the Bible says, “he went up into the mountain by himself to pray. Though it became late, he was there alone.”—Matt. 14:23.
Where can you go to pray to Jehovah alone? Maybe you can talk to God alone before you go to bed at night. Jesus said: “When you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father.” Do you pray to God each night before you go to sleep? It is a good thing to do.—Matt. 6:6.
Jesus also prayed when other people were with him. When he had meetings with his disciples, Jesus would pray. You can go to Christian meetings where prayer is said. At these meetings usually an older person will pray. Listen carefully to what he says, because he is talking to God for you. Then you will be able to say “Amen” to the prayer.
Do you know what it means to say “Amen” at the end of a prayer? It means that you like the prayer. It means that you agree with it, and that you want it to be your prayer too.
Jesus also prayed at mealtimes. He thanked Jehovah for his food. Do you always pray before you eat your meals?
It is good for us to thank Jehovah for the food before we start eating. Your father may say the prayer when you eat together. But what if you eat by yourself? Or what if you have a meal with people who do not thank Jehovah? Then you need to say your own prayer.
Do you always have to pray out loud? No. Jehovah can hear your prayer even if you say it in your heart. So you can say a silent prayer to Jehovah when you are with people who do not pray to God. For example, you might say a silent prayer when you eat lunch at school.
Should you bow your head when you pray? Should you get down on your knees? What do you think?
Sometimes Jesus bent his knees when he prayed. At times he would lift his head toward heaven as he prayed. And he also spoke about praying to God while standing up.
So what does this show? It shows that it does not matter what position you are in when you pray. God can hear you no matter what position you are in. But at times it is good to bow your head when you pray. At other times you may even want to get down on your knees as Jesus did. But, remember, you can pray to God at any time during the day or night and he will hear you.
The important thing in prayer is that you really believe that Jehovah is listening. Do you believe that Jehovah hears you? It is also important that you mean what you say to God. Do you really mean what you say in your prayers?
What should you say in your prayers to Jehovah? Tell me: When you pray, what do you talk to God about?
Jehovah gives us so many good things, and it is right to thank him for them, isn’t it? We thank him for the food we eat. But have you ever thanked him for the blue sky, the green trees and the pretty flowers? He made those too. He also made dogs that wag their tails, kittens that purr and beautiful birds that sing. There are so many things to thank him for!
Jesus’ disciples once asked him to teach them how to pray. And the Great Teacher showed them what were the most important things to pray for. Do you know what these things are? Get your copy of the Bible and open it to Matthew chapter 6. In Mt 6 verses 9 through 13 we find what many persons call “the Lord’s prayer.”
Here we learn that Jesus told us to pray about God’s name. He said to pray that God’s name be sanctified or treated as holy. What is God’s name? The Bible tells us that it is Jehovah, and we should love that name. Second, Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come. This kingdom is so important because it will bring peace to the earth and make it a paradise. Third, the Great Teacher said to pray for God’s will to be done on earth just as it is done in heaven. That means that we should do God’s will.
Jesus also taught us to pray for the food we need for the day. He said that we should tell God that we are sorry when we do things that are wrong. We should ask God to forgive us. But first we must forgive others if they do wrong to us. Do you do that? Finally, Jesus said, we should pray that Jehovah God will protect us from the wicked one, Satan the Devil. So, all of these are good things to pray to God about.
Jesus knew that some persons would forget to pray. They would give up in talking to God. So the Great Teacher told a little story about the need to keep on asking God for these right things and not to stop praying.
Jesus said to make believe that you have a friend who comes to visit you from far away. He comes in the middle of the night. Your friend is hungry after his long trip. But you do not have any food in the house and the stores are closed. What will you do?
Perhaps you decide to go to a neighbor to ask him to loan you some bread. But what if the neighbor says: ‘Let me sleep. It is late. I am in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? What will you do then?
Jesus said that if you beg that man over and over again to get up, he will do it. Even if he did not want to, he will get up and give you some bread. God is not like that man. God wants us to come to him in prayer. But Jesus says that we should keep on praying in order to show that we really believe in God and that we really mean what we say.—Luke 11:5-9.
So we should believe that Jehovah hears our prayers and we should keep on asking him. Then God will answer our prayers. Jehovah likes to hear us pray to him. He is happy when we mean what we say in prayer and when we ask him for the right things. And he will give us these things. Do you believe that?